Iowans take advantage of online sports betting for Super Bowl LV

The general manager of the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque says they’re already seeing betters excited for Sunday’s big game.
Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 8:25 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - New research shows more than 23 million Americans plan to bet on this year’s Super Bowl.

The American Gaming Association says a third of those, a record 7.6 Americans, will bet with online sportsbooks for this years game. And with Iowa’s new online sports betting law, it’s now easier than ever for people to place their bets.

The state first launched legal sports betting in August 2019, but it required gamblers to set foot inside a casino to open an account first.

As of Jan. 1, the in-person sign up requirement was removed, allowing Iowans to download a sports gambling app or open an account online and start betting immediately.

Kevin Washburn is the Dean at the University of Iowa College of Law and has published casebooks primarily focused on the laws of gaming and gambling.

Between advertising and the easy accessibility online betting allows, Washburn said regulators need to work on keeping up with the new online gambling environment.

Washburn says the big game is good news for Iowa’s revenue, but he is worried, saying being able to download a sports betting app, load it up with money, and start betting instantaneously could create some addiction problems in society later on.

“They don’t even need to be watching the game to be gambling on it, obviously, so when you divorce the gambling from the entertainment that’s what starts to make me worried a little bit, because somebody might be betting on 20 different games, none of which they are actually watching. They can lose a lot of money fast,” Washburn said.

One Dubuque casino says the Super bowl is the single-most betted on event of the year. And with online betting easier than ever, they expect Sunday’s big game to show big numbers.

In December, legal sports wagering in Iowa topped the $100 million plateau, with 74% of bets placed online.

Diamond Jo Casino’s General Manager, Wendy Runde, said they’re already seeing people excited and placing their bets online for the game.

“When numbers came out in December it was the third month in a row for a record setting sports betting month. I would expect that January is likely the fourth consecutive month we set records, especially with that in person component going away,” Runde said.

Half of the 50 states have legalized sports betting, with markets up and running in time for this year’s Super Bowl in 21 of them, according to the American Gaming Association. They also report that 56% of betters plan to bet on the Chiefs, while 44% plan to bet on the Buccaneers.

Runde says the Iowa Racing and Gaming Association should be releasing January’s numbers in about a week.

She says that’s when we’ll see how the new law really impacts the online sports betting industry. She said as online betting becomes that much easier, and the pandemic lingers, the challenge becomes finding a way for people to still enjoy their retail space.

She says Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque will be open for in-person entertainment for Super Bowl LV, with social distancing and masks required.

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